Love Rocked, Stars Rolled

18 Feb 2002
Tom Cruise and Kevin Spacey joined Lauryn Hill, Cher and REM in a Hollywood tribute to Bono.

The first annual Love Rocks concert focussed on the 'outspoken philanthropy' of Bono and raised money for research into heart disease.

Sean Penn and Drew Carey joined Disney chairman Michael Eisner at the event which recalled many years of campaigning by Bono, from collaborations with Amnesty International and Greenpeace in the 1980's to recent work to promote debt relief and AIDS awareness in the poorest countries.

REM performed a set which included a cover of I've Got You Babe, when Cher made a surprise appearance to duet with Michael Stipe - the first time she had performed it without her late husband Sonny Bono. Later, REM performed U2's One with Bono adding vocals. Stipe paid tribute to Bono as "a singer, songwriter, statesman, and fashion plate".

Accepting his award, Bono described himself as a "thorn in the shoe" of George W Bush's administration, and warned of the threat Aids poses to the people of sub-Saharan Africa.

"This is probably the greatest threat to humanity that the world has seen really since the bubonic plague took out a third of Europe in the Middle Ages," he said, adding 100 million children could be orphaned because of the epidemic.

Video tributes were also sent by former US president Bill Clinton and Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger.

If you want to get an insider fans perspective on Love Rocks, check the journal of Ethan Kaplan at the REM site

'The lights faded and a solo spotlight shone on the bald pate of one Michael Stipe. He made a short speech about Bono, praising him as a great human being, a great "fashion plate" (so much so that Peter cops his outfits occasionally), and a good friend. The lights came up as REM launched straight into: "I've Got You Babe." ....

'...The lights went dark and Tom Cruise emerged, accompanied by suddenly high-pitched squealing. He proceeded to give an eloquent and nice speech about Bono's efforts as a humanitarian before yielding the floor to Bono himself. Bono had a good speech prepared, if a little long. He is passionate about what he does, amidst the criticism from some, and it seems he's self-aware enough to know how it looks when a mega-rockstar engages in foreign policy initiatives.

'REM's instruments were still set up on stage, and Dewitt could be seen tuning the guitars on the side, so it was evident the guys would do another song. I expected a U2 cover and was pleasantly reassured by the opening notes of One. REM sped the song up a bit and made it edgier, which was interesting. Michael's voice soared with it and, as I thought would happen, Bono entered from stage left and joined him on vocals. It was an inspiring performance and ended the night on an uplifting and cathartic note. ...'

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